The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Defense: Congress gives Obama a blank check

H.R.2608 started out as An Act to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes, but ended at the Oval Office on October 4, 2011 as the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012. In truth, it is the second continuing budget resolution for fiscal year 2012. The first was for a mere four days, to accommodate the Republican workplace demands of four-day weekends. Section 114(a) of the resolution provides:

SEC. 114. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), each amount
incorporated by reference in this Act that was previously designated
as being for contingency operations directly related to the global
war on terrorism pursuant to section 3(c)(2) of H. Res. 5 (112th
Congress) and as an emergency requirement pursuant to section
403(a) of S. Con. Res. 13 (111th Congress), the concurrent resolution
on the budget for fiscal year 2010, is designated by the Congress
for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism
pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency
Deficit Control Act of 1985, except that such amount shall
be available only if the President subsequently so designates such
amount and transmits such designation to the Congress. Section
101(b) of this Act shall not apply to any amount so designated.

The money being discussed in this section is about $158 billion that cuts a wide swath through many parts of the U.S. Defense Department budget. This $158 billion is in addition to the discretionary spending caps Congressional Republicans insisted upon this summer, in the  Budget Control Act of 2011. This $158 billion is divided up into some fifty different account categories from personnel ($16.2b), operations and maintenance ($95.8 b), procurement ($26.1 b) , the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund ($11.6 b) and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund ($800 m).

If President Obama “subsequently so designates such amount” the money is there, but only if he so designates. It is the President’s option.

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Written by Tom Fox

10/05/2011 at 9:48 pm

Posted in Politics

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